September 21, 2021 – ALROSA will provide support to the ethnocultural Kyndykan project, which is designed to draw global public attention to the indigenous peoples of the North, their culture and traditions, and to raise awareness of the importance of preserving their traditional way of life, authentic culture and languages. The project team’s mission is to initiate new approaches and essential measures in the indigenous peoples’ struggle for maintaining their authenticity, and to patronage the latter in the context of globalization and industrial progress.
The project was inspired by the true story of a little girl who was found 200 years ago as the only survivor near the Verkhoyansk Mountains in an Evens ancestral settlement that had been completely wiped out by smallpox. The Evens are one of the indigenous peoples of Yakutia, the largest and the coldest Russian region, where 90% of ALROSA’s operations are located.
The little girl became a prototype for the main character of Kyndykan – a symbol of the endurance, spiritual strength and unique value of the indigenous peoples of the North. This image is now tasked with bringing together all the indigenous peoples of the North to provide hope for the future and an opportunity to be seen and heard.
The Kyndykan project was launched in 2020. The story of the little Even girl is a rallying point for talented Yakuts united by the idea of changing the world for the better and telling the world about the indigenous peoples of Yakutia. Public figures, designers, journalists, artists and scientists have all joined the creative association.
As part of the first stage of cooperation, ALROSA supported the publication of the fairy tale ‘Kyndykan’ authored by a young writer Lidiya Tarasova, as well as work on a short animated film with the same title. The fairy tale was produced by an extensive team involving the active participation of ethnographers, linguists and native practitioners of the language and culture of the indigenous peoples of the North. It is being published in two languages – Russian and Even. The Even translation was prepared by the well-known northern writer Anatoly Stepanov-Lamutsky.
Sergey Ivanov, CEO of ALROSA, said: “ALROSA mines diamonds on Yakut land and therefore is aware of its responsibility, including to the indigenous residents. We admire the endurance and character of the peoples of the North, so rich in history and age-old traditions, and believe it is important to preserve all this for future generations. We were very impressed by the story of Kyndykan and without a moment’s hesitation decided to support the project. Our company provides regular assistance to the indigenous peoples of Yakutia by helping to preserve historical values and revive natural cultures, taking part in the organization of ethnic festivals, supporting ancestral deer-herding and fishing settlements, training them in various specialties and creating jobs, and providing everything required for a fulfilling life.”
Margarita Popova, the author of the Kyndykan project, said: “Our goal is to present to the world the new character of Kyndykan – a symbol of the staunch and valiant indigenous peoples of the North. Time itself has demonstrated that Kyndykan is like a diamond, the facets of which shine ever more brightly with every new inspiration of our team. It is being faceted by people with the greatest commitment to the future of the planet and the preservation of our world’s delicate energy balance between technical progress and natural living. Our first partner is ALROSA, which has the highest regard for and supports community projects, paying due consideration to the importance of open dialogue, interaction and support in matters of preserving the lifestyle and culture of the planet’s most ancient peoples – the true custodians of the North. Together we are creating not only a fairy tale but a genuine and timely story which the world today needs.”
The next step for the Kyndykan project will be the creation of a short animation which will introduce the world to the new character of Kyndykan. In addition, the first dedicated Kyndykan foundation is being set up. The foundation will accumulate the dividends and use them to preserve the languages, culture and traditional way of life of the indigenous peoples of the North, and to support Yakutia’s creative potential.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
ALROSA actively supports the indigenous peoples of Yakutia. The company strives to find a balance between the interests of the state, business and the indigenous peoples, and to secure the sustainable socio-economic development of the region, a better quality of life, and the preservation and development of ethnic cultures.
The company funds ten settlements in Yakutia’s “diamond province” with a strong focus on supporting the day-to-day life of the residents of the most northerly districts, provides assistance in agricultural and traditional economic activities, and finances social events, thereby making a substantial contribution to the region’s development.
ALROSA is trying to popularize the culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples of Yakutia: the company’s culture and sports subdivisions include 13 Yakut amateur-talent groups with more than 200 members. ALROSA also promotes the ethnic festivals, languages, customs and traditions of the peoples of the North: in 2020, its 'Diamonds of Anabar' subsidiary took part in the launch of a website aimed at preserving the languages and traditions of the indigenous peoples of the North.